Thursday, March 4, 2010

Audi Unveils A8 Hybrid and A1 Plug-in Hybrid Concepts

Both vehicles are still concepts, but Audi executives are promising to deliver on electric-drive vehicles.

Audi A1 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Audi A1 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Earlier this week at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen promised to lift hybrids out of its niche status and to produce electric cars. Audi, Volkswagen�"s luxury brand, echoed the sentiment, making a commitment to full hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars.

Rupert Stadler, Audi AG's chairman of the board of management, said, �SWe shall offer electric power in the best possible forms for a wide range of mobility needs. The hybrid driveline will be followed by all-electric vehicles." Michael Dick, Audi board member for technical development, added, �SIn due course plug-in hybrids will demonstrate their strong points when drivers expect to cover longer distances in the pure electric mode, in combination with a conventional engine."

Audi plans to use the name �Se-tron⬝ for electric-drive vehicles, much the way the company uses �SQuattro⬝ as a synonym for all-wheel drive. In Geneva, Audi gave shape to its new commitment to hybrids and plug-in cars by unveiling two concepts: a full hybrid version of its Audi A8 large flagship sedan, and the A1 e-tron, a plug-in hybrid subcompact.

First Up: Audi Q5 Hybrid SUV

Unfortunately, Audi provided no details about the company's first and only hybrid slated for production so far: the Q5 hybrid crossover SUV. It's due in the US in early 2011. The Q5 hybrid, like the BMW X6 Hybrid, will try to compete with the Lexus RX 450h, which in recent months has become the best-selling hybrid SUV on the market. Sorry, no news on price or other specs are available for the Q5 hybrid.

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